Aurelia Flores: Work Activities to Add, Subtract & Multiply

In the last post, I asked you to consider the building blocks — the foundation you already have to work with – before launching into resolutions.  What natural abilities, skill sets, and network do you already have?

The next part of this inventory is to ask yourself three more questions:  1) What activities do I want to ADD or do more of, 2) What activities do I want to reduce, and 3) How do I learn?

When you know what you’re naturally good at (and how that fits in your work life), what skill sets you have (because you’ve built them), and who you have around you (a resource that needs constant tending and cultivation), the next thing is to figure out how you want to spend your time….

What I Want to Add

As you learn what you’re good at (naturally) and what skill sets you have (that you’ve built), you'll also realize that there are things that are a part of your work life that you enjoy doing, and are good at.

The more you add these actions to your day-to-day activities, the more efficient and productive you’ll be! This is good not just for you, but for your work mates, your supervisor, and your company as a whole.

Ask yourself how you can add these actions to your day, or make them a larger percentage of the whole. Do you need to request certain kinds of projects, volunteer for certain efforts, or just make sure you do more of what you’re good at?

A side benefit is that the more you take these actions, the better you become, and the more your skills and talents become a natural part of your work life.

What I Want to Reduce

We also learn, as we go along, what parts of our work life we are NOT so good at. When reviewing these items, we can decide either what we can delegate (outright hand those tasks off to others) or what we need help with.

Ever notice how when more than one person is doing something, it lightens the load? If you have help doing the activities that are not your best, it becomes easier, and you can also learn how others take on the tasks you don’t enjoy.  If you can’t delegate, get some company.

But make sure to be creative when it comes to thinking about how you can delegate tasks. Maybe you don’t have an assistant (if you do, however, make sure to use this resource!) who can help out with some of  these items, but maybe you can trade certain tasks for others among your colleagues, or find someone online to do some of the tasks you need, or hire a younger niece, nephew or neighbor.

How Do I Learn?

No matter how much we try to avoid the things we’re not good at (or don’t enjoy), inevitably there will still be some of that on our plates. How can we learn to do these things better? (Even as we recognize we’ll never be GREAT at these things.)  Or what can we learn that will compensate for these deficiencies?

And when reviewing our natural abilities and skill sets, what can we learn to build on these areas and make them even stronger?

Can you listen to CDs in the car on the drive to work, read a book while on the train to the office, or take an online class, or drop in on one at your local community college? Figure out how, where and when you learn, and make sure to make that a natural part of your schedule.

The building blocks above are important when thinking about New Year’s Resolutions (which we’ll cover next post), because they put in context what’s already happening around you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t change or improve, but you have to know where you are on the map before you can pick which direction to go.

Happy New Year!

Aurelia Flores is Senior Counsel at a Fortune 500 company and former Fulbright Fellow who graduated from Stanford Law School. Her website,, offers stories of success, along with resources and programs focused on Latino empowerment.

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